New Windows server provides a solid Foundation for small business owners

Constanza Zalba, product manager for WSF 2008, described this latest offering as a new version of its flagship Windows Server 2008 that is “designed and priced for really small businesses. The idea was to provide these owners with the core fundamentals they need at an affordable price.”

She said that the economic downturn means that the small business market need affordable solutions that can help them work smarter more than ever. “Until now, small businesses have tended to shy away from server purchases, mainly because the price point has been too high and they aren’t aware of what a server can do for their operations. We’ve filled that gap with WSF 2008.”

Built for small businesses with 15 or fewer users, Windows Server 2008 Foundation provides small business customers with the ability to run business applications and databases, host Web sites, and provide basic server functionality such as file and print sharing and remote access. In simple terms, it will help them work smarter and faster at relatively little cost.

As Michael Yue, product manager for HP ProLiant and BladeSystem for HP pointed out, “For the first time, small businesses can look at having a server-type environment that will meet their solution needs.”

He added that when talking to small business owners, one of the most important things they look for is solutions that are affordable, reliable and don’t complicate things for them. “HP servers with Windows Server 2008 Foundation is the simple and affordable solution this market is looking for. Because it’s pre-installed on HP hardware, setup is easy.”

WSF 208 Foundation added to an HP hardware purchase comes with 90 days of free tech support, including installation and setup. “At end of day this solution is perfectly designed for SMBs because it was built ground up and can grow with them as their business grows,” Yue said.

As one of the first partners to work with WSF 2008, Brad Kowerchuk, president of Bralin Technologies in Fort Battleford (near Saskatoon), said there has been a lot of interest from businesses running small branch offices. “Many businesses will have branch offices in our area that may have five to eight users. They might need a couple of speciality applications such as a database, or a terminal server for remote access users. In many cases, virtualization is simply not a right fit. WSF 2008 however is a perfect fit because it feels a lot like a regular Windows server. It’s a clear win for them.”

He has also had a great deal of interest from professional offices and small clinics. “Because these are not technology people, many see IT as an expense and not a strategic part of their operations. But they still want all this stuff to work. They see WSF 2008 as a lower cost solution to run one or two line of business applications.”

To support small business success, Microsoft also plans to donate a portion of the revenues of Windows Server 2008 Foundation to and, two organizations that focus on bringing the power of technology to nonprofits around the world. The Toronto Wildlife Centre has been named the first recipient in Canada.

Nathalie Karvonen, director of the Toronto Wildlife Centre, said they’re very much looking forward to test-drive the new server. “Non-profits like us
are often frustrated by the current piecemeal technology we use. A lot is donated and cobbled together.”

She noted that the Centre’s wildlife hotline gets 30,000 calls and hospitalizes up to 6,000 animals a year. “We need access to information all the time. Sometimes two or three different hotline staff members are dealing with the same situation, so one might be trying to update information on the database while someone else is trying to access it.”

IT manager for Toronto Wildlife Centre Scott Wight called their current system “a Frankenstein setup. We have converted a PC desktop with a couple drives so we can share the database. Basically it’s all a piecemeal collection of workstations. With WSF 2008, we’ll have a stable operating system that will improve speed and stability through our day to day operations.”

WSF 2008 comes pre-installed with HP and other OEM vendors, including Dell and IBM. It includes 15 user licenses, as well as provides an upgrade path to standard Windows Server applications, which provide additional functionality such as integrated e-mail, simplified management, virtualization and other advanced features.

Applications certified for Windows Server can be found on the Windows Server Catalog site. Additional information on Windows Server can be found at the Windows Server Division blog.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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